I might be exaggerating, but the last few days I’ve really felt exactly how I felt about five years ago. So aptly named, the “quarter-life crisis” is something that us milennials know a thing or two about. I thought that it was behind me, but here I am feeling it all over again. How come no one tells you that this never stops happening? Maybe it does, but we just get numb to the feeling of it. Wish I could say I was.
I’m about to turn 30 next week and I sure as hell don’t feel like it. Have you ever had to answer that ice-breaker question – “if you could be any age, what age would you choose to be?” I have always answered 32. In my mind, this was the age, that magical age where things felt just right. You know what works but there is still so much life ahead of you that you are still driven and excited. I’m getting closer and closer to my “ideal age” and getting scared that I just won’t feel that ideal.
In the last five years, I’ve tried so many things and traveled down a lot of little winding paths. I learned so much about my boundaries and my priorities – I do feel like I’ve grown up and yet still, I feel very insecure about my future. I’m just not sure where to go next because I am so deeply aware of the potential I’ve yet to realize. Sometimes it can be paralyzing; knowing that you can be so much more and it’s right there for you to grab it if you’re brave enough. If you’re focused enough.
There’s no answer and I know that. I just have to work through it, continue living in the moment, and my life will go where it’s supposed to go.
Not very much to say here, just some fun pictures to share. I had the pleasure of touring the Goat Farm open studio days two weekends ago and it was pretty much the best day. I love being able to explore artist studios, no matter what the work looks like. It’s always inspiring to me to see the physical spaces inhabited by creative minds. It didn’t hurt that it was a beautifully crisp day either!
Is there something you’ve loved your entire life? That sounds like a big question because it is. Human nature and survival instinct demands that our personality and sense of self evolves with the world around us. However out of all the phases I’ve gone through, one thing I know that has always been true about me is that I love art. I love recreating, creating, and everything around and in-between. In elementary school, that looked like drawing an underwater landscape that got proudly displayed in the hallways. In adulthood it looks like… well, this. Out of all the words people have used to describe me, the only one that has always felt right has been “artist”. My relationship to this identifier continues to grow stronger with every stage in my life and it’s where I go when I lose my sense of self in other pursuits whether academic or professional. I come back to this word because I know it and I live it. I know who I am as an artist and it is exactly who I am as a person – complex, emotional, meticulous, compassionate, beautiful, and always yearning for connection.
Art has given me the tools to manage my emotions and learn how to communicate.
Maybe all of us go through this, but I think when I was younger I was often overwhelmed by my emotions. I don’t think it’s in the parent handbook to teach your child how to manage anger, sadness, grief, or envy. And when you’re a naturally shy and introverted child, these emotions can really wreak some havoc on your heart especially when you hit puberty. When I read my old livejournal blog posts, they’re like… insanely depressing. Like ridiculously melodramatic. But that was my reality! That’s really how I felt in that moment back in the day. This is when I truly found sanctuary and solace in art. My art teachers were sort of like second mothers to me, teaching me how to express myself effectively and manifest my energy into something worth sharing.
Sitting down to write this, I realized the for all the art I’ve taken in over the course of my life… I still feel challenged when expressing my thoughts or feelings about it. Food is easy, style is logical, but art – perhaps because it’s what I feel most deeply about – doesn’t translate to words. So while I’d love to say to you that I can help you navigate the arts scene in Atlanta, it’s probably the last thing I’d be able to help you with.
It took me way too long to find the time to take the drive to see Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden. And of course I ended up forgetting my real camera, so please enjoy these photos from my crappy old phone (lost my iPhone recently). It’s the best I could do, but really nothing can do this justice. Or really, any art justice.
Art HAS to be experienced in real life. Digital reproduction will never be the same as seeing something in front of you.
Now that I’ve completed my two craft festivals for the season (that’s the max I can handle right now), I wanted to put together a short list of the big takeaways I have from doing craft festivals. Take these with a grain of salt, because everyone has a different experience and I’ve really only done a few. Things may be totally different in different cities or with different organizers, I’m not sure.
The very few I’ve done are Indie Craft Experience (Holiday 2015 and 2016), Root City Market (Holiday 2015), and American Field (Atlanta 2016). I mainly sell art prints of my own artwork so that may also affect my experience as a vendor. But I feel somewhat confident that if you are at all interested in doing shows like this, these things will be useful for you to know before going in.
Hi. Have you met me? If you have, then you know that I go through a mental/creative breakdown about once a quarter… lbh, maybe more like once every two months. I’ve gone through it so many times that I know it’s all part of the process, but it still doesn’t make it hurt any less. It still burns my eyes and my heart gets real heavy, wondering “what is the true purpose of it all”?
The questions I have are questions I’m sure every creative has. Does it matter? Am I just part of a makers-gonna-make fad? Why am I doing this? I’m young and free so maybe I need to spend my time living life and being outdoors instead of twiddling around on the computer color correcting a piece for the tenth time. How long does it take before I feel like what I do is actually inspiring change or making any real impact in the world?
Boy, it’s getting harder and harder to write introductions that do my subjects justice. I’m surrounded by so many creators in my life, amazing women who conquer fears every single day and inspire every person they know. I don’t want to start sounding repetitive but there are just not enough words. Not enough words. This particular darling of a gem is someone I’ve admired from the day I met her; she has always had a fearlessness about her (although I’m sure she’d argue otherwise), a confidence that was so evident yet still humble. She’s just one of those people who loves people and you can see it radiate in how genuinely she presents herself. I strive for that sort of graceful transparency, and I couldn’t do it without role models like Lauren.
Tell me more about what you do.
I currently work for a brand new educational business named The Callback Company. It is a company focused on training students of any age how to audition well based on their own skills. We provide Broadway masterclasses, seminars, cabaret performances, local showcases and NYC showcases to help broaden our students horizons and give them the skills needed to succeed in the professional world. We also help high school students prepare for their college auditions so they have an even bigger shot at getting into their dream program. It has been an amazingly fulfilling experience.
So what’s your average day look like?
To be truthful, I don’t feel like I have an “average day”. Since I have so many different projects, it’s all about prioritizing and multitasking. Every day begins the same, however, with a bountiful amount of coffee.
What inspires you? How do you stay motivated?
I have to find the tiny joys within each day. The small victories often lead to giant ones. I also have an amazing support system that surrounds me. I try to fill my life with the most creative and positive people there are and gain strength and motivation from their encouragement and talents of their own. Inspiration is all around me, I think. I can be inspired by commotion or stillness. The challenge I face most often when it comes to inspiration is being in the correct mindset to see it. I feel like as an artist living in this world as it is today, it is hard to take yourself out of the daily grind long enough to truly experience your surroundings. This is something I am working on. The tactic that works the best for me is changing my scenery and other elements in my environment.
Something that I really love and want to get back to is interviewing other creative and stylish individuals. The connections I get to make in this city are more inspiring than anything else could ever be. I do tend to make connections with other women, not because I particularly choose to, but because there’s a deeper understanding between us about how our creative pursuits really affect the trajectory of our success – both professionally and personally. As women we are carriers of the responsibility to nurture families and raise the next generation. That added layer of pressure on top of trying to chase our dreams makes every step feel that much more crucial; every success and every failure is that much more important. Anyways, I digress.
Today I introduce you to Anna, a fellow artist who is brimming with talent and just trying to make her way up in the world. She’s already got the hard part down, I mean just look at her illustrations. Now all she has to do is be patient and wait for the world to pay attention. I have no doubt that soon this girl’s IG followers with explode and I’ll be seeing her drawings all over the industry. Her work is effortlessly precise yet loose, a striking balance of form and free strokes.
When did you start illustrating? How did you decide that pen and paper was your destiny?
I started drawing early in grade school–really the same time anyone else starts drawing. Nothing else really “clicked” with me like art did… and I threw myself into it wholeheartedly. Maybe art found me 😉 I haven’t stopped drawing since.
All too often art exhibitions will pass through this city before we get the chance to experience them. I know I’m guilty of missing out on some pretty incredible collections just because I let it slip my mind. But let me do you a favor and remind you of one you should make a priority before it vanishes! This past November, Iris Van Herpen’s Transforming Fashion opened at The High Museum in Atlanta and I was honored to be invited to a media preview and walk-through with the designer herself. The exhibition will be open until May 15th, 2016 so you’ve still got a few months to check it out (spoilers below)! Without further ado, here’s a peek at Iris’ innovative designs:
Transforming Fashion marks the first museum exhibition of Van Herpen’s collections in the US. In addition, this also is the first ever exhibition at the High to feature fashion design. It’s the single form of art that I think almost any one can relate to. We interact with fashion every day in the sense that what we choose to wear is the image we choose to present to the outside world. So we find it much easier to feel a certain way about a piece of clothing than we do about a performance piece or an abstract sculpture.But of course, this is not your everyday button-down and jeans. The pieces in the exhibition come from the entire range of Van Herpen’s collections, each inspired by a different element of the world (but I guess you could say that would be anything). From materials like water and metal to chemical phenomena like magnetism and smoke, her designs are as familiar as they are foreign. I don’t envision myself actually wearing these things, much the same way I don’t envision all art I admire being the art I put in my home. They’re a statement. A meditation on the relationship we have with our world, making the invisible visible.
This post is sponsored by The High Museum of Art; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.